Photography

The Best Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Landscape Photography

When you schedule a couple weeks for landscape photography, do you revisit locations from prior trips? It’s tempting to visit new places, but if you want to drastically level-up your portfolio quality, start investing more time in one spot.

In his weekly vlog, Nigel Danson shares how spending more time at a location — often without snapping any photos — has immensely improved the quality of his imagery, particularly compositions. That can mean spending hours or days at the same landmark, or revisiting it throughout the trip.

More time and more tries yield better quality images. It’s not a particularly controversial observation, but one that can be surprisingly difficult to justify to yourself at first. After all, giving up variety to focus on a few shots is fairly risky. You might come away from two days of shooting with nothing, and from personal experience, that can very well be the case.

I’ve spent the last couple months photographing landscapes in the U.K. Four of those weeks were spent in the town of Ambleside in the Lake District, where I revisited the same fells between two and ten times. Only a handful of visits produced portfolio-quality images.

Consequently, my portfolio is not particularly flush with variety, and I took fewer images over two months than I have on previous two week trips. But the difference in quality and the rate of improvement has completely redefined my portfolio, instead of simply expanding it. My top photographs from the Lake District came on the third and seventh visits, and a shot of Mam Tor in the Peak District took three visits. On some occasions, I left my camera behind so I could focus on scouting the area rather than shooting mediocre compositions.

It may not be a controversial idea, but it may be an unnerving one if you’re accustomed to variety. But if you make it a priority, you will see unprecedented improvement.

Do you make time to revisit locations or spend hours just scouting a location? Do you see a significant improvement in your portfolio over the last year?

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